Polaris Fashion Place opens October 25, 2001

Editor’s Note: Every Sunday, The Dispatch features a page from this week in history to celebrate the newspaper’s 150 years of publication, with a little update on what has happened since.

When Polaris Fashion Place opened 20 years ago this week, it was a departure for Columbus real estate developer Herb Glimcher.

Polaris was key in Glimcher Realty Trust’s efforts to reposition itself from a regional developer of small shopping centers to a national developer of large shopping centers, The Dispatch reported at the time.

It was the largest non-outlet mall the company had developed, and it was five times the size of the company’s average mall. The mall features some of the biggest names on the company’s roster at the time: Saks, Lord & Taylor, and The Great Indoors. It was far from a developer who most often anchored retail centers with now defunct or struggling retailers such as JCPenney, Kmart, and Ames.

The Dispatch reported at the time that Glimcher was betting his future on the mall. The description turned out to be premonitory.

Washington Prime Group, which acquired Polaris Fashion Place along with the rest of Glimcher Realty Trust for $ 4.3 billion in 2015, filed for bankruptcy in June 2021. Like other mall operators, Washington Prime has seen its revenue hammered by tenants unable to pay the rent in full. or simply closed during the pandemic, as shoppers turned even more to online shopping instead of in-person shopping.

The mall, however, continued to attract tenants, including Columbus-based boutiques and non-commercial efforts, such as an escape room.

The largest new tenant is Fieldhouse USA, which opened its massive indoor sports complex in June on the site of the former Sears store. Its owners say they expect to attract 1.5 million visitors a year.

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